Weightlifting Fairy is a Korean drama that follows the life of a female weightlifter named Kim Bokjoo. In the very first episode she is reconciled with her grade school classmate, who used to be a complete dork as a child, but as time went by he came out of his shell and became a loud-mouthed, cocky swimmer for the same athletics school. He recognized Bokjoo after saving her from drowning but of course as soon as he remembered who she was he referred to her by her previous nickname, “chubs.” Since she has been preparing to be a weightlifter her whole life she was a pretty chubby kid. Still, she too, has drastically changed in appearance since then. For more than half the drama Bokjoo has been lusting over Joonhyung’s (grade school classmate) older brother. Did her love remain one sided? Or did she give her heart to someone else?
Out of all the Korean dramas I’ve watched this is by far one of the most realistic, putting it in my top five favorites. Bokjoo has always been proud of who she is and all her accomplishments as a weightlifter. Although all the more “feminine” girls would make her feel as though she was more of a boy than a girl, she never cared to listen to them and always held her head up high. Her confidence had remained bouyant all during her childhood up until she met Jaeyi. She had run into him on the street by chance and she had automatically fallen for him. She never thought that she would ever see him again—that was until she walked by an obesity care center and he happened to be walking out. Bokjoo had learned that he worked as the head doctor of that clinic. The irony of a weightlifter going to a obesity care clinic was astounding. Bokjoo, being the naive teen that she was, squandered all her savings to become a patient at the clinic, hiding the fact that she was a weightlifter from Jaeyi. She went to the extent of telling him that she was a cello major who loved classical music.
Bokjoo was able to keep this facade going until Joonhyung came by the clinic to drop off lunch for his older brother and ran into Bokjoo. After a lot of teasing and name calling they came to an agreement that prevented Joonhyung from outing her. In return Bokjoo had to become friendly with Joonhyung. With this secret in between the pair they gradually became closer as friends. They went from loathing each other, to tolerating each other, to actually enjoying one another’s company. Somewhere down the line Joonhyung began to fall for Bokjoo without even realizing that his feelings were those of more than a friend. He did not act on his feelings because he in a way became friend zoned because of his older brother. He never felt any resentment towards his brother but did continue to try and help Bokjoo on her journey to conquest her love, because all he wanted was her happiness.
Later in the plot Bokjoo realized that she did not feel like herself while trying to impress Jaeyi. She had not only betrayed the weightlifting team by going to the obesity clinic, but she was also betraying herself. She never once cared what others thought of her but why, suddenly, had she wanted to completely change her image? Towards the end she realized that her love for the doctor would always remain one sided because he had only ever seen her as a patient and his younger brother’s friend. Although Bokjoo did not automatically fall for Joonhyung because she was still going through the heartbreak of unrequited love with the doctor, but she did seek him out for comfort as a best friend. They remain like that until she no longer had any more feelings for the doctor. She realized that she never really was in love with him; she was only in love with the thought of him.
Joonhyung wanted to keep his feelings in until he felt like Bokjoo was completely over his brother but he felt as if she would never know where his heart is at—so he kissed her. Bokjoo told him that she had only ever seen him as a close friend and nothing more. Joonhyung being the stubborn guy he is told Bokjoo to give him month to show her a different side of him and then after the month she can decide if she can see him as more than a friend. Needless to say it only took one date for Bokjoo to see that Joonhyung had alway been the one there for her and will remain by her side regardless if she were to accept his love or not.
In all the dramas I have seen they typically consist of “love at first sight.” It is where the leads fall in love with each other without having a proper conversation. In this drama it began as a friendship, eventually blooming into an actual relationship. I feel as though this is how actual relationships in the real world start so I appreciated the realism in the show.